As allegations swirl regarding two potential instances of double voting, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has assured voters of the overall integrity of the electoral process.
“Two separate instances have been brought to the attention of the Electoral Commission over the past few hours, in which it is alleged voters were able to cast more than one vote at different voting stations,” the IEC said two hours after voting stations closed at 9 pm on Wednesday.
An investigation has since been launched into these incidents.
The Commission assured the nation that while investigations are underway, the election process contains a number of checks and safeguards, which together serve to protect the integrity of the process.
These layers of security include:
- The voters’ roll, which only allows registered voters to vote – and only allows for a single registration per voter.
- The requirement for voters to produce a valid ID document before they vote.
- The scanning of ID documents prior to voting.
- The marking of a voter’s thumb with ink.
- The completion of a form containing the details of voters and the signing of a sworn declaration by voters where they vote at a voting station at which they are not registered.
- Party agents and observers monitoring all aspects of the voting, counting and results capturing process.
- In-built system-based exception reports for which various tolerance levels have been set.
According to the IEC, all of these leave a detailed footprint of voter participation in the process and can be used both separately and in combination to identify instances of electoral fraud.
“As part of the process of finalising the results of the elections, the Commission will assess data from scanners, VEC 4 forms (used when voters vote outside their voting districts) and the voters’ roll to identify potential risks,” said the IEC.
Where evidence is found to support electoral fraud, the Electoral Commission said it will firstly quarantine the results of the affected voting districts and then pursue criminal charges against the perpetrators.
“The Electoral Commission appeals to any party or person who may have evidence of any electoral fraud or significant irregularity to report this immediately so that it can be thoroughly investigated.
“The Electoral Commission will not allow the potential misconduct of one or two individuals – be they voters or election officials – to taint the overall outcome of these elections,” said the IEC.
The integrity of the results is paramount to the credibility of all elections and all election results are only finally captured and displayed in the results system when the Commission is satisfied with the integrity of the results.
Contesting political parties are allowed to raise objections throughout the process. This includes instances where they believe a voter was ineligible to vote or has voted more than once.